Marketing & Sales

28
Jul

Feedback matters…!

UbongNkanta | Feedback Works

ˈfiːdbak/
noun
information about reactions to a product, a person’s performance of a task, etc. which is used as a basis for improvement.

The continuous change in customers’ needs and expectations is a clarion call on businesses – established, growing and startups to engage their customers satisfactorily. Businesses spend time to develop, review and evaluate their business strategy periodically, however, very little (if anything) is done to seek and review the feedback on the customers’ experience with their products and services. A best-in-class business strategy is incomplete without a clearly defined customer feedback plan.

A research conducted by Esteban Kolsky shows that 70% of companies that deliver best-in-class customer experience use customer feedback, versus industry average of 50%, and 29% for laggards.
Every business expectedly, is set up to operate optimally and be the ‘top mind’ brand for their customer at all times. However, as services are being rendered round the clock, customers’ feedback on their perception of the experience are not also gathered on the go. So many organizations do not have structured, clearly defined and effective customer feedback channels, thus they only get to know of their customers’ experience with their services when the customer has already gone public – the power of social media! Today, we all have access to media platforms through which we provide unsolicited feedback on a/an good, bad, ugly experience with brands at any time. This liberty for experience expression is also a very good, bad and ugly form of brand exposure, depending on the usage and for what purposes.

So many organizations are spending millions in protecting their brand from poor reputation resulting from bad publicity and some are trying to salvage theirs from one that has gone awry. This is the power of the Voice of Customer (VOC) at work. So many businesses make little or no effort in putting in place a structured, easy and convenient process to gather and listen to real-time feedback from their customers. Today’s customers do not wait or give you a second chance to improve on a poor service (if at all you know about it); they are at liberty to talk about their experiences in the public (virtual) space even while being served. This is a big dilemma for established businesses that move like cruise ships.

”Only 1 out of 26 unhappy customers complain. The rest churn. A lesson here is that companies should not view absence of feedback as a sign of satisfaction. The true enemy is indifference”. – Kolsky

In Customer Feedback management, the customer is in charge! So handling it must be from the customers’ perspective and not on perceived assumptions. Organizations, irrespective of market size must strategically develop and implement a seamless, effective, easy and accessible feedback process. It must be a deliberate act and the customers clearly informed. The feedback channels should serve all cadre of customers and must be available and managed at all times.

Most importantly, the organization should have an empowered team to listen to, engage personally and act real-time on the voices of their customers. Effective customer feedback process is a veritable tool for continuous improvement and a sure pathway for business growth.
Forrester found that 80% of companies say they deliver superior customer service. However, only 8% of people think these same companies deliver customer service worthy of a superior rating.
What kind of customer experience are you providing? Have you asked your customers? Have you asked your employees? Engaged customer-facing employees have a better idea of the customer experience than non-customer facing employees. Disengaged employees don’t care.

How do your customers define an acceptable, unacceptable, and outstanding customer experience? Ask them. That is the only way you will ever know.

Talk to your customers to let them know you care about what they think. They will be amazed that you care about them as individuals.

Recognize employees who provide an outstanding customer experience so other employees will know what you value – beyond revenue.

Today, so many organizations have improved on their product offerings and service models; increased their customer base, market share and profitability from customer feedback. This in turn enhances their customers’ experience, which today is the competitive battleground and marketplace differentiator.

Credits –
http://www.insightsfromanalytics.com/blog/what-kind-of-customer-experience-are-you-providing

Customer Experience Management Definition


http://www.insightsfromanalytics.com/blog/what-kind-of-customer-experience-are-you-providing

29
Dec

3 Quick Tips to Measure ROI (Return on Investments) on Marketing Campaigns

These are quick tips to ensuring the money spent marketing your product translates to profit. After doing your homework expending time and detail to your design, using iconic graphics and styles, designing eye-catching suite of marketing materials, including advertising, direct marketing, and state of the art embellishments on branding, how you measure the effect of your hard work to your profits is key to making any progress related to your marketing expertise. How do you measure where each of your marketing Naira should be optimally spent to realize the highest return on investment from any given budget?

“Hilton Worldwide relies on technology to support its most critical marketing spend decisions across brands, portfolio and media types”

Martin Stolfa VP, Commercial Services Analytics Hilton Worldwide

Optimizing your marketing mix requires a predictive, dynamic and holistic approach to planning with analytics. However, if you are an SME (Small and Medium Enterprise) and don’t have money to purchase elaborate analytics platforms, what you need to do is devise a full proof strategy that-

· Mirror real life scenarios and answer your ‘what if’ questions.

· Maximize your marketing budget to better invest every Naira.

· Eliminate cumbersome guesswork to connect marketing spend to revenue.

To achieve this, these tips are keys to ensuring the job is well done.

1. Social Media– Use social media platforms to deduce your brand perception metrics including awareness, familiarity, favorability and purchase intent. Social media gives you the platform to immediately measure, it gives you real-time reporting and flexibility in selecting KPIs {Key Performance Indicators}, provides a custom view to evaluate and optimize results at each phase of the campaign.

Example-you can set up a short survey on product awareness on your product on twitter for free. Google analytics can also help and it is free to a measure.

2. Codes- Include codes that define the specific medium so you can actually measure the specific channel the campaign was received.

Example- For each promo advert you post on any medium, say a BRT bus, or UNILAG Cafetaria, ask that customers reference that to get some discount or voucher, etc.

3. Improve engagement through Play : Games, Trivias, etc- Find fun ways to engage your target audience outside of selling products to them, then get the opportunity to use survey monkey to get your analysis on engagement.

28
Dec

Affordable Alternative to Email Marketing

Email marketing is a great way to communicate with customers. As you may know however, simply blind copying a very large number of recipients is not allowed by most email services (Gmail, Yahoo, etc.). Even if you are sending emails directly from your server, you will realize that sending bulk mail directly will lead to your messages ending up in the spam folder of your contacts.

In the light of this, mailing list services such as Mailchimp, Constant Contact, etc. were created. These services provide easy ways to send newsletters in a reliable way (that is,  without ending up in the Spam folder). Most of them also have a free plan that enables you to send messages to a limited number of contact at a limited frequency.

However, as your contact list or email frequency increases, you may discover that these newsletter services may become rather pricey. Also, with the high exchange rate and the limitations many banks have now placed on naira denominated debit cards for dollar purchases, paying for your newsletter subscriptions can become a heavy burden. 

Therefore, it is important to creatively explore alternative avenues for email marketing without having to break the bank. One such way is a combination of Amazon SES and a self hosted newsletter application such as PHPList.

Amazon Simple Email Service (Amazon SES) is a cost-effective email service built on the reliable and scalable infrastructure that Amazon.com developed to serve its own customer base. More information about the service can be found here: https://aws.amazon.com/ses/.

PHPList is a self-hosted email marketing application that helps you send bulk email, manage subscribers, plus other functions etc. It is a very robust and popular email marketing application.

The idea is to set up PHPList on your server and configure it to send email through Amazon SES.

Let us look at how cost effective this combination is. For illustration, if we have a contact list of 5,000 recipients and are going to use Mailchimp to send newsletters to this list regularly, the cost will be $50 per month! (MailChimp’s pay as you go option is not worth considering as it is only for infrequent email sending and hence not cost effective).

For Amazon SES, email messages are charged at $0.10 per 1,000. The cost will be just about $0.50 per email blast. Assuming two newsletters per week i.e. 8 newsletters per month, this will cost just about $4.0! That is a difference of $46, compared to Mailchimp! Also, the great thing about Amazon SES is that it is postpaid! You only pay for emails you send. If you do not send any email in a month, you will not be charged. However, with services such as Mailchimp, you are charged automatically every month regardless of if you use the service or not.

What you will need:

  1. Your own hosting account. You need to have hosting that supports PHP and MySQL/MariaDB. Most Linux hosts (which are the most popular) support these requirements. You will need to install PHPList on this account. If you are not a tech savvy person, you might need to find someone who can assist you with the installation. Also, many hosts provide one-click installers to help you with the installation.

  2. An Amazon web services account. You can easily create one here: https://portal.aws.amazon.com/gp/aws/developer/registration/index.html?nc2=h_ct

Instructions on how to configure PHPList to work with Amazon SES can be found here: https://readmode.wordpress.com/2015/04/27/amazon-ses-with-phplist/ . I advise that either you or your consultant reference that page during the setup process.

Thanks for reading!

28
Dec

Quality Service as Competitive Edge

Today’s marketplace is extremely competitive, offering thousands of products and services accessible at customers’ fingertips. The single distinguishing factor in attracting new and retaining existing customers is increasingly becoming ‘service’.

“The battle for repeat business is critical to long-term success in today’s intensely competitive marketplace. Customer Service is not just a competitive edge. In many industries, it is the competitive edge. Service is the new standard by which customers judge performance.” – William Band

Customer Service is really selling. It is what inspires a customer for return purchase more often. Customer Service is not only the responsibility of the customer service personnel, but also of the overall involvement of all stakeholders in the organization. The quality of service offered in an organization greatly impacts on the bottom line result.

The only competitive advantage available to an organization in a service economy in which everyone is providing essentially the same level of quality service. It has become a long-term competitive advantage for businesses in competitive markets. Irrespective of the industry, the approach to service delivery plays a vital role in the accomplishment of any organization’s corporate goal. It must be planned, strategically implemented in line with customer expectations and appropriately measured for improvements.

Sometime, we are all in a marketplace where all contenders are offering the same product with similar prices and almost the same marketing strategy. If there is a service element in any activity, then there can be a competitive advantage.

Quality Service should ingrained in every department of the organisation because, ultimately all activities impacts on the perceived final quality of the product and service experienced by the customer. In rendering outstanding and impeccable service, one’s attitude plays a vital role. We must continuously express thoughtfulness, show courtesy, integrity, helpfulness, efficiency, availability, friendliness, knowledge and professionalism in our work.

It is worth noting that poor services eat away at a company’s reputation. Your customers deserve to always experience an impeccable service, which in turn triggers a longing for repeated business.

Whatever you are engaged in, your service is a reflection of your brand and commitment to proffering a memorable customer experience. Let quality service be your competitive edge in the marketplace.

27
Oct

5 RULES FOR EFFECTIVE CLIENT COMMUNICATIONS

By Eyitayo Ogunyemi

Has it happened that you intended to communicate a point but your client interpreted your message wrongly? This usually happens when written business communications are vague, morose and without a sense of simplicity. The end result, more often than not, is that potential clients “move on” to the next service provider. To take your business to a bigger level, you must write with clarity in such a way that your potential clients easily get your point. When you achieve this, your clients become happy to engage you, because they understand your terms and their own obligations. Below are five hints to write to win both existing and potential clients:
1. See your words as PRECIOUS GEMS, you won’t give them out carelessly, so write what you mean and mean what you write.

2. Prefer the positive expressions to the negative expressions. I like the way Deborah S. Bosley gives the picture of how our brain reacts to words we read in her article Positive language makes our brains happier
Your selling point may be connected to the use of certain negative words (drug industries for example capitalises on the use of negative words and then tell potential clients how their drugs cure those negative vices), one of the solutions in such instance is to use as few negative words as is possible.
Another arm of this lesson is to avoid using double negatives because they make the readers engage in “mental gymnastics”. See for instance the following statement:
“You may not disengage from the terms of this Agreement unless….”
The challenge with the above example is that, like the rule in mathematics, two negatives make a positive, so where you have “not” as the first negative and “dis” (from the word “disengage”) as the second negative, you have a positive statement which will communicate a wrong intention. It could have therefore been put this way:
“You may disengage from the terms of this Agreement if…”
To conclude on this, greater chances are that when you write in the positive sense, you will use fewer words.
3. Your choice of words should be determined by your likely readership. For instance, your colleagues will probably not patronise your business because they are your competitors, so why write as if you are addressing a colleague?
Potential clients easily get worn out trying to know what you mean when you use technical words (which only your colleagues are licensed to understand). What you must therefore do, is to put the technical words in simple contexts.
One last note- if you must use technical words, make sure that you create a portion to interpret those words in the plain English sense. If you are preparing an online article, link those tech words to other sites where they are exhaustively interpreted.

4. Avoid the repetition game. Many people do this because they are afraid that they have not been heard. For whatever reasons, the thing about repeating yourself is that you become boring.
Here is an example from my archive:
“ON no ground whatsoever or howsoever shall we be liable….”
You will notice that one of “howsoever” or “whatsoever” could have been sufficient, or a more simple word could have fit in perfectly.

5. Engage your clients in the active voice:
“Active voice” is when the subject of a sentence performs the action in the verb, while “passive voice” is when the subject has the action performed on it.
In elementary school, we were taught that when the passive voice is used, it means something is being done for the actor, but active voice puts the actor in charge. When you apply that explanation to your business, you will realise that passive written expressions make you look frail, while active expressions give a sense to your clients that you are in charge.
For example:
You don’t say: “The account will be audited by us”
You should say: “We will audit the account”
Communicating in the active sense helps you to be clear on your thoughts and also clear on who should do what, and what is to be done.
CONCLUSION:
Investing time to communicate to your clients with clarity and simplicity is an act that should be taken serious when preparing your marketing strategies. The Businessperson that engages his/her clients with simple written expressions has a good chance to have the most clients (observe the trend for instance in Insurance companies). The days are gone therefore, when it is assumed that the black man appreciates the content of a book by its cover.